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Humanity's Big Bet on Artificial Intelligence: A Conversation With Gary Marcus
10th April 2022 • The Sunday Show • Tech Policy Press
00:00:00 00:42:46

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It might appear that many political and government leaders have come to regard AI as a kind of panacea, right at the moment when the world needs one most. The third and final installment of the sixth UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report was published Monday: UN Secretary General António Guterres called the report "a litany of broken promises" and "a file of shame, cataloging the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world." Some leaders appear to be betting that somehow, AI will help us optimize our way out of this crisis. 

But what if that bet turns out to be wrong? And what if the bets we’re making within AI today, such as on technologies like deep learning, themselves turn out to be less fruitful than the hype might suggest?  

To learn more about these issues, I spoke to Gary Marcus, a cognitive scientist, an entrepreneur and a writer. He’s written five books, including the 2019 book Rebooting AI: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust, which Forbes said was one of the seven must-read books in AI. And, he founded the firm Geometric Intelligence, a machine learning company that sold to Uber.

Last month, Gary wrote a piece in the publication Nautilus titled Deep Learning Is Hitting a Wall: What would it take for artificial intelligence to make real progress? In it, he wrote that quote “because general artificial intelligence will have such vast responsibility resting on it, it must be like stainless steel, stronger and more reliable and, for that matter, easier to work with than any of its constituent parts. No single AI approach will ever be enough on its own; we must master the art of putting diverse approaches together, if we are to have any hope at all.”

I spoke to Gary about how his criticism of where AI researchers are placing their bets connects with the larger wager elites seem to be making on the promise of Artificial Intelligence.



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